From an early age I was immersed into the American culture as shown in television shows and movies. I was enchanted by it, enamored almost. I loved America so much, that by the time I was 10 I could speak fluent American, just from the little I got to watch on TV and by the time I was 16 I even thought in American. My English teacher, who believed that Oxford English was the only true English, was not pleased with this, but there was little he could do about it, except find pleasure in marking my z’s where they should be s’s. I even applied for exchange student programs and almost went on tour with an exchange program, that performed shows in different countries. When I went on vacation to America, every time I arrived at the American airport, I felt like I had just come home and every time I had to leave, I felt homesick for weeks. At some point I wanted to live in America so badly, that I became physically ill and only weighed 57kg (125.6lbs) while I’m 1.76m (5’9″). There was more to my illness, but that’s a story for another time.
I no longer dream of moving to America. While I still sound American when I speak English and my grammar is still more American than Oxford English, my desire to move across the pond has dwindled. I don’t want to live in a country where the powerful are more concerned with their own well being than that of the rest of the citizens, where bigotry, racism and discrimination run so rampant that there is now a presidential candidate fueling the flames hatred. I don’t want to live in a country where health care still seems to be treated as a privilege, rather than a right, where 5 days of paid vacation per year is considered enough, and where paid maternity leave is still not a thing. I don’t feel safe in a country where there are as many guns as there are people, where not one story of the good of those guns has surfaced, but many stories about the evil of them have become so mainstream, that it boggles my mind, that politicians still refuse to even think about regulating the “regulated militia” that the 2nd amendment talks about. This is no longer the America that I dreamed about.
And yet, it still is. Because America still has that wide open space, those vast national parks of beauty, the language, the dreams. While the narrow minded raise their voices the loudest, I know that America is also the land of the open minded, the quiet ones, the great thinkers, the artists, the innovators, the changers. I know this, because I know them personally and have the good fortune to call them my friends. And when I look for the helpers and read the stories of people coming together after tragedy, I know there is still hope. The ignorant may scream in their despair to hold on to their last grasp of the old world, but the new world is rolling in and it’s unstoppable. It’s noticeable in the movements of people demanding change, people no longer standing for the corruption, and demanding a recount, Jews visiting African American gay bars in solidarity and finding new friends that they have more in common with than they might have thought, people offering their blood to help the victims and it doesn’t matter to them whether their blood goes to a black or white, gay or straight person, they want to help, people bringing food, water and umbrella’s to the hundreds of people waiting in line to be able to donate their blood. Billionaires countering the lobbyists, by offering equal amounts to an organization that pushes for gun control, big chain supermarkets taking rifles off the shelves because it’s no longer good publicity to sell them… My America is on the verge of another revolution and those fearing the change are kicking and screaming, but the wheel has been set in motion and there’s no stopping it anymore. My America, the land of the free thinkers, of the openhearted and open minded, of the open spaces and the open arms, my America where you fight for the American Dream, a dream of equality, safety, justice and a voice for all, … My America is coming and soon I will dream of living there again.